When I first began shoot sessions professionally, I was normal confident in a few different areas. 1. I knew my ability, creativity and vision for the shoot was strong. 2. I knew my clients would be impressed and excited about the quality of the images they would be receiving and thankful for the opportunity to print them wherever they wanted. 3. I knew I could creativity design calendars. albums, and other specialty products on my own.
The place I got stuck was choosing a lab. If client wanted to order pictures from me, what was I going to use? How could I keep my prices low enough to use me instead of a pharmacy or Target Kodak printer, but high enough to make a profit and be able to produce a quality print? I started with Nations Photo Lab which is one of the most self-explanatory/user-friendly labs out there, and definitely has awesome prices. However, after about a year of using them I was not as satisfied with the clarity of the print and I was DEFINITELY unsatisfied with the turn-around time of more than a week with $8.00 shipping.
Then I turned to Miller Labs, which was been amazing. They have FREE OVERNIGHT SHIPPING for any order over $10.00 and the quality of their prints are astounding. Their print prices are slightly higher than NPL, but they also offer more creative products than you can imagine from pressed luxe cards, photo cards, flush albums, canvas prints, gallery wraps and MORE. Lots more. Also, my favorite recent discovery about Miller Labs, is they offer a FREE online scheduling program for members. You sign up and you’re instantly issued a custom website that you can allow clients to use to book sessions on their own, complete with a link to paypal and other great instant payment options. Couldn’t be easier.
There are two other sites I would recommend based on some extensive research I’ve been doing. I belong to WPPI and I receive Professional Photographer Magazine which are filled with great tips and advice. Both highly recommend Black River Imaging and Simply Canvas. If you are unsatisfied with your lab, or maybe you’re frustrated that you’re prices have to be too high to gain a profit from print orders, check out these great labs and start making money producing a beautiful product for your clients.